Benin Horti Training 2: converting theory into application

HollandDoor has been implementing an OKP TMT+ Project (Orange Knowledge Programme, Tailor-Made Training) in Benin since 2020, funded by Nuffic. The objective is to refresh and upgrade the vocational education capacities of teachers at four LCAs  (lycées techniques agricoles, technical agrarian high schools) located in the north of Benin in Banikoara, Ina, Kika, and Natitingou. The project is divided into three work groups: animal production, horticulture, and irrigation.


In the third quarter of 2021, the Horticulture group held several online sessions providing basic training in “plant health.” Luckily it was possible, post-COVID-19, to hold the first live training activity in January 2022 in Porto Novo. Read more


In the first week of June 2022, the second live training was held for 20 horti teachers from the four schools. This time the training was hosted by ABCGrower, located in Abomey-Calavi, just north-west of Cotonou. ABCGrower focuses on producing bio-pesticides, bio-herbicides and bio-fertilizer, for example by Bokashi, as a sustainable and, where possible, cheaper alternative against conventional chemical products.


Instead of choosing what would probably be a more comfortable training room in an air-conditioned building, it was decided to build a temporary training room tent to be as close to the farm as possible. Each training session began with a lecture on theory (knowledge/understanding/insight), immediately followed by a practical workshop on the farm (application), ending with conclusions on how this could be converted into and used as teaching modules at the four participating LCAs.


To summarize, the week-long intensive training handled the following subjects: plant physiology and plant balance, (greenhouse) climate, recognizing pest and diseases, didactics, student assessment and engagement, school and position in the regional horti sector, soil analysis, bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides and safe chemical application, to name a few. On Wednesday morning, participants visited INRAB, the national research organization, and they spent the afternoon at Phaz Compassion Benin, a two-year old agricultural boarding school.


The week’s training was implemented by Adje Bienvenu (ABCGrower), Pieter-Jan Heijnen (Yuverta Horst), Margaret van der Horst (Plant Care Education) and Niek Botden (HollandDoor).


The Horticulture work group is coordinated by Vanessa Zoussou (LCA Natitingou) and Hermann Biaou (LCA Kika) in Benin and Niek Botden (HollandDoor) in the Netherlands.


Special thanks to Koppert who donated “Knowing and recognizing” books.


For more information, please contact Niek Botden.


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